I was so proud of myself before actually beginning the work on this valentine. My pattern was in front of me. I thought I was very organized and had sorted through shells to match size, shape and exact color. That is, for all of them except the tiny, white littorina. The work was slower having to sort and glue at the same time. But it was OK. I took my time, pausing for breaks when necessary. I don’t want to rush because that’s when mistakes happen. Not only that, but as I have worked I’ve made adjustments on the pattern. What seemed appeared good on paper and in trial fittings, I wasn’t too impressed with when I actually began to work.
Right off I had a couple epiphanies, so to speak. First, that was a lot of white shells. The complete interior would be covered. Second, I did not like the way the wood shows through. In hindsight, I should have added a fine layer of crushed shell here, also.
In addition, I did not like the way the spirula looks around the center. The star-burst pattern is great. The spirula is lovely. It just is not working together.
Anyway, I was cruising along gluing what felt like a million tiny white shells when I had an accident. I had to glue the spirula around the center before I could begin the fill-in. The spirula is a pricey and fragile shell. I know this and I broke one. I couldn’t break a shell in the container. I had to break one already glued on.
After picking out the pieces, I found a similar fragment in the container. I had kept the broken sections for when there was an accident like this. I put a touch of glue on the new fragment then used another scrap shell piece to support it until the glue dried. After which I slipped another shard into the gap.
I can still see it but it isn’t something that just jumps right out at you. (click on the picture for an enlarged view.)
I think what I trying to explain about the spirula edging against the star-burst is easily seen in this photo, also. I have a couple of ideas floating around but I want to wait until I have more completed to decide what I want to try.
I used dark greenish brown littorina to form triangles. The points (definitely not perfect) are the platforms for my tellin flowers. I already had to replace one of the flowers. Not me that time, though. My dog decided to take the shortcut across the table and stepped on it! The pink fairy tellins and the lavender urchin spines have been a challenge for me to use. As I have said before, I have a heavy hand and they are very delicate.
I sat this morning playing around with some of the shells I had selected for this piece. I also gathered a few others. Placing them in the areas where they would be glued, I took a picture. It’s easier for me to judge how it will look when I view it as a picture. When I just stare at it laying on the table, my mind looks at too many things. Rather like ‘you can’t see the forest for the trees’ kind of thing. Viewed this way the spaces between the white shells don’t seem as large, either.
My plan for the exterior was to have more geometric lines than what is falling into place. The color scheme is good as is the shell choice. I think I have made wise choices thus far. I think by adding shells to the eight sides in contrasting or similar shades, I can bring the lines back into focus. And I keep looking at the center….
But I can only tackle one issue at a time! I believe I will leave the center alone for now and work on the outside. The center isn’t going anywhere and perhaps by the time I am ready, a wondrous idea will pop into my head!